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Day to Day Politics: Bashing Billy Shorten.

Thursday 6 July 2017

This week’s Essential Poll showed that even though the Coalition is throwing everything at Labor (stealing its policies) they still languishes far behind Labor 53/47 TPP. For the third successive week Newspoll hasn’t published a poll. I wonder why?

The Government clings to the discredited argument that they have the more popular leader in Malcolm Turnbull. The last leader I can remember whose popularity could be directly attributed to his being elected to lead the country is Bob Hawke. A union man through and through.

The reason the government is behind in the polls can be put down to; 1) appalling governance, 2) party in-fighting, and 3) hypocritical leadership.

People may place Turnbull ahead of Shorten in the leadership stakes – in the hope that he might turn out to be the Turnbull they thought they were getting.

Other factors might be that they don’t trust Shorten; he is still an unknown quantity. But either way, it is rare that being ahead as preferred Prime Minister is the one criterion for winning government.

Malcolm Turnbull maintains a 39-26 lead as preferred prime minister. It’s not an enormous gap.

Bill Shorten was well behind Turnbull during and prior to the last election and almost managed to pull of a remarkable win. Being Opposition leader is the toughest gig in politics. If you are lucky you might get a one liner on the nightly news service.

Recently, Shorten stated that he would restore wage-cuts to low-wage earners taken from them by the Coalition, and that the rich would incur higher taxes. These are major policy moves that have received little publicity nor appeased the Corbyn/Sanders Laborites who want a full on class war.

An observation on leadership.

”Leadership is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life and grow over time. They govern moral choices and demonstrate empathy toward others. It is far better for those with these qualities to lead rather than follow. In fact it is incumbent on them.”

As I have said in previous posts, the Government – over a long period of time – has been digging its own grave. Once having put your foot in it is incredibly hard to drag it out (as we have witnessed since the budget).

So what does a party do to resurrect its fortunes? Well you attack the leader’s character.

An observation

”Leaders who cannot comprehend the importance of truth as being fundamental to the democratic process make the largest contribution to its demise.”

The personalization of Labor leaders is a conservative ploy to cast doubt on them as leaders. It’s outright dirty politics that originates from the conservative political assassination playbook.

Remember Kim Beazley’s ”lack of ticker,” Mark Latham’s ”L-plates,” and ”Ju-liar.”? They were all designed to cast the opponent as incapable, untrustworthy, a liar, or just dumb.

The Coalition have for some time been trying to tag Shorten with a similar characterization. None has worked thus far.

First was the attempt to define him as Power Bill. Then there was ”Crooked Bill,” which came at the height of the Heydon Royal Commission (into unions). The commission that was deliberately referenced by Abbott to inflict maximum damage to Shorten’s personality.

The Coalition was forced to drop that one when the Commission cleared him of any wrongdoing. Furthermore, the Commission revealed that Shorten had endorsement from business leaders that liked his pragmatic style of leadership.

They then went after him for his association with powerful business leaders he had made over many years. Has not the Prime Minister done the same? And a businessman who was forced to reach into his own pocket to keep his bid to become Prime Minister alive. Now he so stridently lead the attack against Shorten.

The Coalition has thrown more punches at the Opposition leader than Jeff Horn landed on Manny Pacquiao. None of theirs have landed though.

Now they have turned to ”do anything Bill” which I assume means he will do anything to get elected. Why they think it has more punch than the previous ones is beyond me. Don’t all politicians do anything to get elected?

Bill Shorten comes from the rough and tumble of bread and butter unionism. A bit of name sloganizing isn’t going to work. Perhaps some work on the character of Turnbull’s ministry might. There are some strange ones in it. Or perhaps they could appoint Abbott as ‘Minister for Character’. That might work.

Or better still they could forget all the name-calling and try governing the country for the common good of all its citizens.

An observation

”In the recipe of good leadership there are many ingredients. Popularity is but one. It however ranks far below getting things done for the common good.”

As for Bill Shorten, well he needs to better define just what Labor stands for. Corbyn and Sanders have proven that preaching a manifesto that attacks inequality, the rich and promoting progressive policies has universal appeal. However, it seems to me that in an Australian context Shorten is afraid to use their language lest he be accused of starting a class war, which is of course what inequality, is all about.

There are many, including myself at times, who have doubted Shorten’s capacity as a leader. Many have been scathing about him. In my own defense I always said that he would be judged as a policy wanker rather than some sort of Whitlamish charismatic figure.

An observation

”In terms of social activism. The word wait should never mean never.”

My thought for the day

”In the recipe of what makes a good leader there are many ingredients. Self-awareness is one. The innate ability to know whom you are and what your capabilities and limitations are. The need to have the aptitude to motivate people with your vision. Often the art of leadership is the ability to bring those otherwise opposed to your view, to accept it. It is the art of persuasion. It is also about delegation, empathy and understanding. It can also require from time to time the making of unpopular decisions. Decisions like going to war.

However when they consistently imply the leaders own morality and spiritual beliefs they are more akin to authoritarianism.”

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Day to Day Politics. ‘Bashing Billy Shorten’

Friday 15 January 2016

1 Yesterday, I copped a bit if flak (on Facebook) from people who thought I was doing a bit of Billy Bashing when I offered some advice on how the Labor Leader should confront an election year. I did so because I for one am sick of the political scam that takes place in Australia every three years or every day for that matter.

Australian politics has for some time been suffering from the longevity of sameness. I advocate a change in the way it is practiced. It is time for us to reevaluate just what it is we want from our democracy. We don’t have a representative democracy that is participatory, one that administers for the benefit of all.

Because change is anathema to the conservative mindset it is more difficult for them. For progressive democrats it should be uncomplicated.

Anyway I was simply putting a point of view that going through the motions of a bland boring promises, promises, a traditional election campaign year would not achieve a Labor victory. I pointed out that being emphatically brazen by giving back the democratic process to the people just might.

We are at a point in time in our history where ‘change’ demands it be listened to. Where the events of recent times scream for it. It only requires a voice to demand it on behalf of the people.

The definition of servitude needs to be indelibly engrained into the minds of those seeking election and the self-serving attitudes that now exist need to be purged from the minds of our current politicians.

For too long we have suffered the indignity of insulting propaganda from all parties. So much so that if it wasn’t for compulsory voting no one would bother.

An example is Bill Shorten’s three-week tour to tell everyone he thinks an increase to the GST is a bad thing. Now I happen to agree, but really. It’s not a Coalition policy and possibly won’t be. I find that sort of electioneering insulting, in the same way as I have the deplorable policy announcements of the Government, while we have all been at play.

What bullshit they perpetuate when they say that they never underestimate the intelligence of the Australian people.

Yesterday I suggested that Shorten take a leaf out of the Bernie Sander’s book of how to do politics.

People like Sanders have a way of grasping the intestines of an argument and presenting a plausible answer that is simple to understand, and at the same time enthuses and leads people into an all-embracing narrative that inspires.

Others like the ill of mind conservative Donald Trump see complex problems and impregnate them with implausible black and white solutions.

We live in a society of our own making. One in which the cult of personality is the doorway to political success. All I am suggesting is for Shorten to take the bull by the horns, turn politics on its head, show Australians a new politic, embrace the people and present an inspirational narrative of how he sees the future. The same old, same old, way of politics will not see Labor in Government. It needs the ‘wow, he would do that factor.’

In my defence 1. Billy bashing.

2 If only President Obama had control of the Congress what a difference he might have made to that country. Pre Reagan I admired the bi-partisan quality of their politics.

This from his State of the Union address:

“Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have a go at it, you’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.”

3 Conversely they may be on the brink of electing a man who two world leading countries are considering banning entry to. To think that the Republican Party could ever consider a man like Trump as a nomination to run for the Presidency illustrates just how low the GOP have fallen.

4 Fairfax reports that new parents in low-paid jobs stand to be $10,500 worse off under a Turnbull government paid parental leave plan intended as a compromise on cuts proposed by Tony Abbott, according to new university research.

The research, commissioned by women’s group Fair Agenda and conducted by the University of Sydney’s Women and Work Research Group, shows mothers who work in healthcare, teaching and retail could lose between $3942 and $10,512 under the compromise policy.

One can’t help but think that the real agenda of the conservatives is to shift wealth from the bottom 97% to the top 3%.

5 “It is vitally important, both as a matter of social justice and political reality, that structural changes are seen as being fair across the board”. “That means not only must tough decisions be justified, but that the burden of adjustment is not borne disproportionately by one part of the community.”

There was once a women who said ’please explain’.

‘There has never been a more exciting time to be alive than today and there has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian.’

Crisis support service ‘lifeline’ recorded more than one million calls for help in 2015, the highest number in its 52-year history, and its busiest four months on record from September to December (peter shmigel ~ lifeline).

6 And so it seems that, after one week, I have finally managed to catch up on the Day to Day political musings of our politics. My reverie is now broken. Nothing has changed. We are still being subjected to everyday propaganda from our politicians and our media. We are being badly governed. Injustice abounds. Lies manifest. The powerful seek more of it. Capitalism wants more profit. Turnbull’s prescription is innovation but is led by others. My despair is sullen but my hope untouched.

My thought for the day.  

“Question everything. What you see, what you feel, what you hear and what you are told until you understand the truth of it. Faith is the residue of things not understood and can never be a substitute for fact”.

 

Turnbull’s Joyce will cost him dearly.

“There’s no-one more Australian than Barnaby Joyce”, blusters Malcolm Turnbull, his fair-weather defender in happier – well – slightly less miserable times last November when Joyce, another appalling ham, in RM Williams and stockman Akubra, playing an outback whip-cracking caricature from central casting turns out to be a Kiwi, too.

By week’s end it’s clear, as Oscar Wilde, on his death-bed, famously remarked of the wall-paper,

“One of us has to go.” Not that Mal hasn’t put on a good show of support. Or milked Barnaby’s ” landslide” by-election for all it is worth and more – despite Barnaby going MIA, turning campaigning into pub crawls, refusing to debate the other candidates and talking of death threats. Hacks still misread the victory as a Turnbull comeback.

Cue the night of the New England by-election, a couple of old con-artists in a show about snake-oil salesmanship.

“We’re getting the band back together,” crows a PM who presides over his dysfunctional moribund leadership. How he loves to talk up renewal, unity. MSM follow his lead. He looks the part – all kitted out in blue flannel shirt and moleskins, the compleat Collins Street farmer. He tilts his pristine Akubra back to form a buffalo-hide halo.

A deafening roar of beer-sodden catcalls, stamping and two-fingered whistling buoys his spirits at the Nats’ election piss-up in Tamworth that Saturday night last December. But Turnbull knows truth will out. The “open secret” of 50 year old Barnaby’s affair with a 33 year old married woman cannot kept out of the news forever.

Always solicitous of our well-being and a stalwart Coalition megaphone, The Daily Telegraph toils virtuously in the public interest, all week, photographing Barnaby’s new partner’s baby bump after previously deploring the intrusion of gossip into Barnaby’s personal life, his privacy and the New England by-election.

Now the two old stagers face their final curtain. Even Turnbull must know it’s over. He’s signed off twice on two plum jobs, for Joyce’s new partner, Vikki Campion, just to get her out of BJ’s office; keep her out of the public eye.
One is with Matt Canavan, the other as “second media adviser” to National Party Whip Damian Drum.

It’s hardly a subtle cover-up. Even Graham Richardson ponders in The Australian why the Nationals Whip needs one media advisor, let alone a second high-flyer. Puzzling Richo, also, is why Joyce should promote Drum to be his assistant minister.

A salary of $191,000 for Vikki is now in the news. So, too is The Daily Telegraph’s Miranda Devine writing about Barnaby telling his estranged wife, Natalie that Vikki is expecting a boy. “A dagger to Natalie’s heart.”

Even Murdoch’s purple press has turned. 26 dud Newspolls plus one Barnaby fiasco may be too much for Rupert Murdoch. The Coalition’s major backer may be turning sour over Turnbull’s bungling ineptitude.

Creating national heroes can be hazardous, Turnbull discovers to his cost but he can’t help himself. When the Greens question Jim Molan’s involvement in the dirty battle for Fallujah in Iraq in 2004, Senator St James Molan, our PM thunders, fought for Aussie values against the ISIS Infidel and thus must be above all earthly criticism.

In his own way, too, Turnbull’s Aussie icon Barnaby Joyce is a self-styled Cultural Warrior on his own crusade for moral decency. Why, he even fought against girls being inoculated with anti-HPV vaccine Gardasil lest it promote promiscuity. He opposed gay marriage claiming it went against traditional family values. Now look at him.

Some unkindly call Joyce a hypocrite. It’s not playing out well in Tamworth, says The Daily Telegraph. Others raise the way the affair has been kept out of the news where Julia Gillard or Cheryl Kernot were hounded. “What if this MP were a fifty-year-old woman having an affair with a man half her age?”, asks Clem Ford in Fairfax. The media would have leapt instantly to judgement. Now the Tele has broken ranks, expect a ton of moralising to follow.

Moral posturing may be a key part of Joyce’s rural populist politics – his idol is former Queensland premier, the bible-bashing, corrupt hillbilly dictator Joh Bjelke-Petersen – but it carries grave risks of self-betrayal. Joyce, for example, campaigned against same sex marriage for years. In 2011, he addressed a rally organised by the Australian Christian Lobby and The Australian Family Association, posing as a protective father of four girls.

“We know that the best protection for those girls is that they get themselves into a secure relationship with a loving husband and I want that to happen for them. I don’t want any legislator to take that right away from me.”

How Barnaby thought same-sex marriage could do this is unclear, but he is one of fourteen MPs who abstained from voting on the same-sex marriage bill, Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017. What is clear is that in presenting himself as a family values campaigner, he has set himself up for a big fall.

Or has he? On ABC Insiders, Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek notes that the PM’s office signs off on jobs. Labor will pursue the only legitimate line of inquiry: she calls on Joyce and Turnbull to be “fully transparent” about the expenditure of taxpayer funds, which she said was the “only area in which there is a genuine public interest”.

In the end, the jobs will undo Vikki and Barney; the thin red line of the Prime Minister’s Office debit accounts, as much as Tamworth’s wrath. Joyce’s soap opera, moreover, makes Turnbull’s leadership look inept, weak and ineffectual. But right on cue, look over there. Our great and powerful friend, the USA graces us with Harry Harris.

We’re just mad about Harry. Our nation is overjoyed to learn, at long last, we have a US Ambassador. “Great Wall of Sand”, Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr, a Sinophobe, who doesn’t trust our largest trading partner.

“In my opinion China is clearly militarizing the South China Sea,” Harris tells the Senate Armed Services Committee in February 2016. “You’d have to believe in a flat earth to believe otherwise.”

Harry’s “shithole” posting tells us he is no favourite of Trump’s but it does send a warning to China. A former Gitmo head, Admiral Hal also brings a unique record of duty of care to inmates of the USA’s “extra-constitutional prison camp”, Guantánamo Naval Base whose role, he explained to ABC in 2007, is not to be confused with justice.

It’s not about ” guilt or innocence” he told the late Mark Colvin, it’s about “keeping enemy combatants off the battlefield”. Harry’s past may help him advise Border Force in its own illegal, indefinite detention practices.

Doubtless Harry would admire our Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (resolving the asylum legacy caseload) bill 2014, a Scott Morrison masterpiece which gives the immigration minister, now Peter Dutton, unprecedented, unchallengeable, and secret powers to control the lives of asylum seekers.

Tragically, Harris is linked to the possible homicides of three young men in his care, June 9 2006; Salah Ahmed Al-Salami, a Yemeni aged thirty-seven. Mani Shaman Al-Utaybi, a Saudi, aged thirty. Yasser Talal Al-Zahrani, also from Saudi Arabia, was twenty-two. None had been charged with any crime but all were found hanged in their cells.

The three men were found to have stuffed rags into their throats; put on masks, fashioned nooses out of cotton fabric they, alone, mysteriously had access to and reached an eight foot high ceiling to hang themselves.

Harris declares the deaths “suicides.” Channelling a Big Brother hate session, he then attacks the dead men.

“They are smart, they are creative, they are committed,” Harris says. “They have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.”

Naval Criminal Investigative Service records suggest, instead, death from torture. New evidence, published in Harpers, includes an eyewitness account of al-Zahrani, on the night of his death, which indicates torture and suffocation during questioning at a secret black site facility at Guantánamo known as Camp No, or Penny Lane.

Our MSM say nothing about “Gitmo” but a fluffy ABC gushes over the posting of “the first security professional” hinting at some pastoral care role for the new US Ambassador to Australia. Certainly, Harris will be a perfect fit to be joined at the hip, as our PM sees our US alliance, with Canberra’s tough on border protection boffins.

The big lie is that the US Alliance is a mutual security pact. Despite our political leaders’ bipartisan spin, all ANZUS entails is a promise to consult. JFK refused our plea for help against a “communist crisis” in Indonesia in 1962.

Before Trump, Nixon put us on his “shit list”, because he didn’t like Whitlam’s robust nationalism and when Man of Steel, US brown-nose John Howard asked for help in East Timor in 1999, Clinton told him to bugger off.
Thank God we’ve got soldiers like Jim Molan to protect us and to hire out to the United States; win its illegal wars.

Liberal Senator “Jingo” Jim Molan, is sworn in Monday and wastes no time in urging even greater expenditure on the military. A thoroughly modern former major general, Jim’s memoirs modestly entitled Running the War In Iraq, reveal his glee in using drones to direct 200kg bombs that could “pick up a house and land it in the street”.

Jim’s no slouch on Facebook or war by social media. Yet while he posts racist videos on Facebook and retweets a racist, Islamophobic joke, he can’t be a racist, insists the PM, because he’s been a soldier and freedom-fighter.

Turnbull rounds on Bill Shorten’s suggestion that he discipline our Aussie war hero Jim as “deplorable” and “disgusting”. Yet what is more deplorable and disgusting is the extent to which Turnbull must overreach; grovel publicly to a new Abbott supporter. He falls back on the last refuge of scoundrels, patriotism.

Jim is a “Great Australian” brays the PM, who claims the former soldier (in 2004) ” … led thousands of troops in the battle for freedom against terrorism”. Others know it as the 2003 illegal invasion of Iraq, under the twin fictions of regime change and ridding Saddam Hussein of his weapons of mass destruction, while wresting control of Iraq’s oil-fields and utterly destroying Iraq, fuelling anti-Western terrorist extremism into the bargain.

As the late Chalmers Johnson warns in Blowback, the appalling blundering by US strategists in Afghanistan and the Middle East is the prime motivator of terrorist organisations like Al Qaida and ISIS. Jim may think he won Fallujah but he lost the war. Yet the monstrous lie of Iraqi liberation is central to Turnbull’s government world-view.

Experts estimate around half a million Iraqis died in the Bush-Blair invasion; A Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Survey published in the Lancet, and the Iraq Public Health Survey published in the New England Journal of Medicine, give figures of 655,000 and 400,000 excess deaths respectively.

In 2013, birth defects for the city of Fallujah surpass rates for Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the nuclear attacks at the end of World War II. Scientists suspect the white phosphorous and depleted uranium in US munitions.

The use of white phosphorous was illegal because it is arguably a chemical weapon, riot control agent, or incendiary weapon. Furthermore, the methods and means of its use in Fallujah violated the laws of war.
Greens MP Adam Bandt has, however, apologised to senator Jim Molan, for saying he could be a war criminal.

Inexplicably, the PM skips Jim’s winning “2009 Australian Thinker of the Year” an inestimable gift of appreciation which unlike our Border Force and the militarisation of compassion, another of Jim’s great Australian contributions “carries with it no responsibilities, commitments or obligations of any kind”.

The fuss over Jim helps distract from the revelation that the Coalition has been lying about Treasury advice. Our ABC reveals how Turnbull’s government lied in 2016 about Labor’s negative gearing plan. Our sensible centrist PM calls it “the most ill-conceived, potentially destructive policy ever proposed by any opposition”.

The ALP wanted to limit the tax deduction and halve the capital gains tax (CGT) discount, a modest proposal. Yet Coalition MPs went into howls of protest: Labor would take an “axe”, a “sledgehammer” or even “a chainsaw” to the housing market. Such wanton vandalism would bring Australia’s booming economy to a “shuddering halt”.

Of course, the Turnbull government lied. And it lied that its lie was based on “confidential Treasury advice”.
It was a scare tactic straight out of Gitmo or Abbott’s carbon tax hysteria playbook and almost as damaging.

It’s taken a mere, two-year legal battle to find out the lies. Treasury advised in 2016, that Labor’s plan “might exert some downward pressure; a (possible) relatively modest downward impact” on house prices. The lie was a key campaign issue in the 2016 election. Newspeak virtuoso, Scott Orwell Morrison, is not, however, a whit abashed.

ScoMo still lies about who benefits from negative gearing. Treasury advice is that negative gearing and the capital gains tax mostly benefit high-income households. Treasury calculates, 52.6% of the tax benefits from negative gearing are reaped by the top 20% of income earners, while 54.3% of the tax savings from the capital gains discount go to the top 10% of families ranked by income.
Despite this, an Orwellian Coalition and its housing lobby pals claim the opposite. “Teachers, nurses, and police officers” stand to benefit the most or it’s that sentimental family favourite “Mums and Dads trying to get ahead”.
The Grattan Institute finds 12% of teachers negative gear and 9% of nurses. Yet 29% of surgeons and anaesthetists benefit. Doctors also get a much higher average tax benefit. $3,000+ compared to nurses, who benefit by a mere $226 and teachers who benefit by $289. But ScoMo never listens. Nor does his government.

Treasury is wrong, ScoMo maintains. ScoMo knows because he was once “a research economist in the property sector”. From 1989-1995 he was, indeed, a manager for The Property Council of Australia, a housing industry lobby group, a role guaranteed to give him halcyon independence, objectivity and peerless, impartial advice.

Morrison’s chutzpah, his Trumpery, his flaky claim to credibility, allows him to dismiss Treasury experts; spurn Productivity Commission research that Labor’s proposal will have little, if any, effect on housing supply.

The Treasurer’s big lies, of course, include the fiction that his government are good economic managers and that we are in the middle of a jobs bonanza. Public opinion, he says, agrees – another lie.

It’s not that every opinion poll is rigged, although Clive Palmer candidly admitted paying for the results the Liberals wanted when he was state director. It’s not just that MSM is always ready to repeat the monstrous falsehood – some defending it on the grounds that it’s a widespread perception – or it’s what voters think. Voters think?

The reality, Alan Austin notes, ” … is that the economy collapsed inexcusably during the two years Joe Hockey was treasurer. But it has tanked even further, except for the very rich, since Scott Morrison replaced him. The Australia Institute research indicates Abbott and Turnbull are Australia’s worst post-war economic managers on record.

Less forgettable or, as Orwell has it, less worthy of erasure, is Scott Morrison’s preselection; how The Daily Telegraph got the MP pretending to be an effective Federal Treasurer launched into politics in 2007. The extraordinary circumstances of Morrison’s entry into the political arena are almost cause, in themselves, to be cautious of any of his subsequent claims. No other MP, surely, is less credible; has such a flaky threshold of power.

In 2007, Morrison loses 82 votes to 8 to Lebanese-Australian Michael Towke, a telecommunications engineer member of the Liberals’ right faction, in pre-selection for the safe Liberal NSW seat of Cook.

Enter The Daily Telegraph. In four articles, The Tele falsely accuses Towke of branch stacking & faking his resume. Towke is disendorsed. The Liberals hold a new ballot. Morrison wins; parachuted in over the politically dead body of his rival local members gossip. Towke sues The Tele for defamation; settles for an undisclosed sum.

Glad tidings round off the week in politics as US fiscal genius Donald Trump’s tax cuts help panic the stock market into wiping off $2.49 trillion in a 10 percent fall by Thursday from a record on Jan. 26. Global stock markets follow, losing $5.20 trillion.

Trump’s cuts are acclaimed by our economically illiterate government which seeks to emulate Trump’s economic wizardry and his war on truth. Morrison, recently returned from the US, claims to have witnessed for himself the miracle of massive company tax cuts creating jobs. But the only example he can give is Walmart.

Yet Walmart on 12 January said it would raise entry-level wages for U.S. hourly employees to $11 an hour in February as it benefits from last month’s major corporate tax cut and on the same day announced it would shut stores and lay off thousands of workers.

Of course, Morrison will dispute this. He will know better than the experts. Better than any authorities or any so-called facts. He always does, just like his Prime Minister. It’s the signature theme of the Turnbull government. The future looks impossibly rosy. Especially when you are making it up. But the key lies in erasing the past.

As Malcolm Turnbull himself quoted from George Orwell, this week “The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth”. It was not yet our reality, he says, “but no longer entirely fantasy.”

He and his government are seeing to it personally.

Day to Day Politics: Change is a process, not an event.

Monday 16 January 2017

For my post 15 January 2016 I wrote the following: “How interesting it is when we look back and analyse the progress or lack of it that has been achieved”.

1 Yesterday, I copped a bit if flak (on Facebook) from people who thought I was doing a bit of Billy Bashing when I offered some advice on how the Labor leader should confront an election year. I did so because I for one am sick of the political scam that takes place in Australia every three years, or every day for that matter.

Australian politics has for some time been suffering from the longevity of sameness. I advocate a change in the way it is practiced. It is time for us to re evaluate  just what it is we want from our democracy. We don’t have a representative democracy that is participatory and that administers for the benefit of all.

Because change is anathema to the conservative mindset it is more difficult for them. For progressive democrats it should be uncomplicated.

Anyway, I was simply putting a point of view that going through the motions of a bland boring promises, promises, and traditional election campaign year would not achieve a Labor victory. I pointed out that being emphatically brazen by giving back the democratic process to the people just might.

We are at a point in time in our history where ‘change’ demands it be listened to. Where the events of recent times scream for it. It only requires a voice to demand it on behalf of the people.

The definition of servitude needs to be indelibly engrained into the minds of those seeking election and the self-serving attitudes that now exist need to be purged from the minds of our current politicians.

For too long we have suffered the indignity of insulting propaganda from all parties. So much so that if it wasn’t for compulsory voting no one would bother. An example is Bill Shortens three week tour to tell everyone he thinks an increase to the GST is a bad thing. Now I happen to agree, but really. It’s not a Coalition policy and possibly won’t be. I find that sort of electioneering insulting.

In the same way as I have the deplorable policy announcements of the Government while we have all been at play.

What bullshit they perpetuate when they say that they never underestimate the intelligence of the Australian people.

Yesterday I suggested that Shorten take a leaf out of the Bernie Sander’s book of how to do politics.

People like Sanders have a way of grasping the intestines of an argument and presenting a plausible answer that is simple to understand, and at the same time enthuses and leads people into an all embracing narrative that inspires.

Others like the ill of mind conservative Donald Trump see complex problems and impregnate them with implausible black and white solutions.

We live in a society of our own making. One in which the cult of personality is the doorway to political success. All I am suggesting is for Shorten to take the bull by the horns, turn politics on its head, show Australians a new politic, embrace the people and present an inspirational narrative of how he sees the future. The same old, same old, way of politics will not see Labor in Government. It needs the ‘wow, he would do that factor.’

2 If only President Obama had control of the Congress what a difference he might have made to that country. Pre Reagan I admired the bi partisan quality of their politics.

This from his State of the Union address:

“Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have a go at it, you’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.”

3 Conversely they may be on the brink of electing a man that two world leading countries are considering banning entry to. To think that the Republican Party could ever consider a man like Trump as a nomination to run for the Presidency illustrates just how low the GOP have fallen.

4 Fairfax reports that new parents in low-paid jobs stand to be $10,500 worse off under a Turnbull government paid parental leave plan intended as a compromise on cuts proposed by Tony Abbott, according to new university research.

The research, commissioned by women’s group Fair Agenda and conducted by the University of Sydney’s Women and Work Research Group, shows mothers who work in healthcare, teaching and retail could lose between $3942 and $10,512 under the compromise policy.

One can’t help but think that the real agenda of the conservatives is to shift wealth from the bottom 97% to the top 3%.

5 “It is vitally important, both as a matter of social justice and political reality, that structural changes are seen as being fair across the board”.

”That means not only must tough decisions be justified, but that the burden of adjustment is not borne disproportionately by one part of the community.’ There was once a women who said ’please explain”.

”There has never been a more exciting time to be alive than today and there has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian.”

Crisis support service ‘lifeline’ recorded more than one million calls for help in 2015, the highest number in its 52-year history, and its busiest four months on record from September to December (Peter Shmigel ~ lifeline)

6 And so it seems that, after one week, I have finally managed to catch up on the Day to Day political musings of our politics. My reverie is now broken. Nothing has changed. We are still being subjected to everyday propaganda from our politicians and our media. We are being badly governed. Injustice abounds. Lies manifest. The powerful seek more of it. Capitalism wants more profit. Turnbull’s prescription is innovation but is led by others. My despair is sullen but my hope untouched.

My thought for the day.

“Question everything. What you see, what you feel, what you hear and what you are told until you understand the truth of it. Faith is the residue of things not understood and can never be a substitute for fact”.

PS: Change takes time. We are now another year on. What progress have we made.

 

If it’s about Politics, I’m not interested.

Just how many people are interested in politics and what influence does the media have on our thinking.

I have always been of the view that Australians exercise their right to vote in our democracy every three years and after that the vast majority take little interest. Australians don’t engage in politics and there is a deep seated malaise. The reality is though that politics effects almost every part of an individual’s life and they should be more interested.

In a 2008 lecture ‘Politics and the Media in Australia Today’, Dr Sally Young said this.

‘’Who are the media audience for politics in Australia? An experienced political pollster estimated a few years ago that only around 10% of the population in Australia takes an active interest in politics.

There are two things to address here. Firstly that 3.000,000 people decided not to cast a vote in the last election indicating that they were totally fed up with politicians for many reasons of which I won’t go into here. Suffice to say that a recent Essential survey ranked political parties at 14% on the question of trust in institutions. Parliament at 25% and the ABC at 74%

As Lenore Taylor said two years ago:

“Parliament and the media, both reliant on public trust for their existence, ”should give long pause for thought about how that trust can be regained . . . for the media it now has to come down to meeting, and explaining how we are meeting, our responsibilities to be reliable and informative and interesting and fair”.

And secondly, and this is only a hunch based on antidotes or personal observation that the 10% mentioned by Dr Young has in fact grown to 20%.

Whereas once we had an allegiance of a locked in 40% die hard support for the two main parties, and ten % for the greens with 10% swingers, now we have a sizable minority of thinkers who take their politics seriously.

A comment on my last post for THE AIMN prompted me to rethink the issue of media exposure and the power of it to influence, persuade and debate the issues. And of course accessibility to it.

The person I refer to is a Green supporting Billy Shorten basher who insists that Shorten isn’t doing enough. I pointed out that opportunities for Opposition leaders were few and far between.

The day he made his comment, while watching the Seven News, I conducted an analysis of the time given to politics. In the half hour to 6 to 6.30 14 stories were covered. Politics got roughly 90 seconds and Bill Shorten uttered one sentence about National Security.

By the time the program had finished I couldn’t recall what he had said. This prompted me to think further about the time devoted to politics on commercial TV and public broadcasting.

I decided to take a closer look at political media exposure generally and spoke to the editor of a television ratings magazine who provided me with some audience figures. He asked not to be named because I only asked for indicative figures.

The Bolt Report 132,000 (over two shows)
Insiders 227,000
The Drum 147,000
ABC News 24 93,000
Media Watch 72,000
Q & A 800,000
ABC News 700,000 which compares favourably with the commercial channels.
7.30 700,000

An interesting observation on Q&A is that of the last 240 appearances by politicians 137 have been from the right and 93 from the left. A similar comparison can be made with guests on The Drum where the IPA seem to have a permanent seat at the table.

There are of course other programs that cover politics in one way or another. Sky News for example. However, it is fair to say that without the ABC, exposure to politics would at best would be very minimal.

Now when you compare the numbers I have quoted against those of average or even top rating shows they stack up fairly well, indicating that there is a proportion of the population who are political tragic s like myself.

Of course the viewing of these television shows doesn’t solely account for my 20% assumption. Television audiences, are still a major influence, even if they are in decline.

Now back to Bill Shorten and the avenue for media exposure. let’s look at radio stations that cover politics seriously. We have the ABCs AM and PM, the drive shows and the Sydney shock jocks and Neil Mitchell and Jon Faine in Melbourne. All of these have formidable audiences of mainly non-working folk of an elderly demographic.

In a media twist so to speak just prior to putting my two typing fingers to work I was watching News24 with a televised cross to Shorten being interviewed by Jon Faine. Shorten was as cool as could be with Faine pressing for one line answers to highly complex questions which in the current political climate he would be mad to answer definitively.

Whilst Faine and Mitchell are comparatively fair he would be silly to appear on a Hadley, Jones or Smith, Sydney produced program and be ridiculed over nothing whilst at the same time the Prime Minister is in his political death throes.

Please note that Australia doesn’t have a left wing shock jock.

And in terms of a Murdoch dominated newspaper industry he should , while journalists of a conservative bent are giving the Prime Minister such a hard time, be foolish to enter conversations that are politically controversial. Well that’s the political wisdom anyway. Let them continue with their own goals.

So there are three issues I am trying to address here. The first is that yes, a huge number of Australians have withdrawn from the political process and the party who tries to win them back will reap a reward. I doubt that it will be the conservatives though because they are unlikely to be of their constituency.

The second is to identify the new 10% of swinging voters. Who are they? My belief is that they are the young internet savvy people who have found an online outlet for raised voices against unfairness, the environment and inequality. Young people more interested in the issues than the ideology of them.

Thirdly I am talking about what should shorten do and I have addressed this issue in two pieces. 1. What Should Shorten Do and 2. Bashing Bill Shorten.

There is no doubt that his day of reckoning is approaching and the book of opinion is wide open on him but at the moment he needs to remain calm, reasonable and statesmanlike. Just like Malcolm Turnbull who said this.

“broadcasters, or politicians or writers…who think that they are respecting ‘struggle street’, the battlers, …by dumbing things down into one-line soundbites are not respecting them, they are treating them with contempt”

Another reason is that the budget is only eight weeks away with the last still a work in progress. After the last one they will need to craft a document of unique fairness that not only is but seen to be and at the same time addresses the budget crisis they said we have. I doubt that they can do it. They are bound to be criticised either way.

 

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